Essential amino acids may help protect against muscle damage and speed up recovery

In this muscle-damage study, 10 untrained men, average age 23, flexed and extended elbows in five sets of 10 repetitions at their maximum muscle strength.

The men took a placebo or 3.6 grams of essential amino acids (leucine, lysine, valine, isoleucine, threonine, phenylalanine, methionine, histidine, and tryptophan) three times per day for eight days. On days 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7, the men executed the muscle-damaging elbow flex-extension exercise.

Doctors measured creatine phosphokinase (CPK), a sign of muscle damage from the exercise, which increased in both groups, but significantly less for the essential amino acid group.

Reviewing the results, doctors said taking the essential amino acid combination reduced signs of exercise-induced muscle damage, and could be effective in aiding muscle recovery.

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